This summer, after the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of gay marriage in the U.S. by ruling that same sex couples have the constitutionally protected right to marry in the historic case of Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2071 (2015), officials in states such as Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky began to contemplate thwart the new law. In fact, over the last several months all eyes have been on Rowan County, Kentucky. Why? Because county clerk Kim Davis has notoriously defied a federal court’s order to begin issuing same sex marriage licenses in the county. Fortunately, now that at least some of Kim Davis’ deputy clerks are issuing marriage licenses to all eligible citizens, there is some resolution to the issue. But, the Kim Davis case may leave some with a few questions regarding how to obtain a marriage license in Georgia, and what to do if a Georgia clerk refuses to issue a marriage license according to law.
Although, as mentioned above, some southern states initially indicated an unwillingness to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, Georgia lawmakers made it clear from the beginning that Georgia would uphold the law. Thus, if you are a same sex couple seeking a marriage license here in Georgia, you should not encounter any obstacles. However, it you do please contact the presiding judge in the county where you are seeking the marriage license, your local law maker, or the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. But, let’s get to the basics – how to obtain a same sex marriage license in Georgia.
Well, simply put, same sex couples seeking marriage licenses here in Georgia must simply follow the same procedure as other couples to obtain a marriage license. First, if you or your future spouse are residents of Georgia, you can get a marriage license anywhere in the state. If neither of you are Georgia residents, you must apply for the license in the county where your marriage ceremony will be performed. Second, both you and your spouse must be 18 years of age or older. In certain circumstances though, those aged 16 and 17 may wed with the consent of a parent or guardian. Third, if the above requirements are met, you and your future spouse should visit the appropriate county’s probate court. Be sure to bring a valid form of identification, like a driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or military ID, along with funds to pay the marriage license fee. Generally, the marriage license fee in Georgia is $56, but if you show proof that you completed a qualified premarital education program, the fee will be reduced to $16. Finally, you must have your marriage ceremony officiated by a judge, justice of the peace, licensed or ordained minister, clergyman, pastor or other religious leader. Additionally, your ceremony must be observed by at least two witnesses. For more information on how to obtain a marriage license here in Georgia, contact your local Probate Court see GAprobate.org.